Tau Empire Codex 8th edition Review: Pew Pew Die
The new Tau Empire Codex is a hodgepodge of ideas ever tempered by Games Workshop’s additional part-time job of psychologist for a host man-babies who make up the Greater Good community. It is the large mostly aberrant Tau online community who makes any objective review of the codex nearly impossible. I could talk about how consistently fantastic the new Tau fluff is or how Games Workshop hasn’t a clue on how to make the Tau a dynamic varied army. Instead though I am going to focus on the Tau player, the quintessential abused puppy of the Warhammer 40k universe.
So with that if you were expecting a true review of the Tau codex, I suggest you move on because this is going become a particularly silly rant.
The Tau player is a special breed of Warhammer 40k player.
It is hard to pinpoint exactly when the amorphous Tau gestalt formed, most likely the quintessential Tau player formed from Imperial Guard players. The general Anime/Asian theme of the army is an important hook for beginners, but hardly scratches the surface of who the typical Tau player is today. When the Tau army was first released it pulled many things Imperial Guard players enjoyed. This was good, because at the time most Imperial Guard players were more concerned reenacting Victorian and World War tropes plaguing the army at the time. The idea of competitive Imperial Guard player wasn’t really a thing, as Chaos Space Marines, Eldar, and Space Marines typically held dominion over the hardcore scene at the turn of millennium.
So out of the small group of competitive Imperial Guard players the Tau player was born; the only problem was the Tau were editions too early to capitalize on the necessary rule changes needed, to become the shoot first ask questions later army many have grown to loath. Combined with certain Dawn of War players who years later join the Warhammer 40k community in droves, attracting PC gamers who love negative interactions and overwhelming firepower.
To their credit many Tau players like Ork players are dedicated to there singular army, but where the Ork player has an overabundance of jovial model mania, the Tau player conversely is dedicated to more toxic behaviors. The Tau player is devoid of empathy, bent towards domination and instant gratification. Think of all the games you may have played against the Tau, they usually only have two outcomes. One is you discover the rare casual Tau player, who is basically a new player who loves the army design and hasn’t figured out really figured what he supposed to be playing. Then you have the real Tau player, with whatever flavor of month basket of model deplorables staring at you.
Now what makes a Tau player and his army different from any typically flavor of month army, is the sheer pointlessness. Tau armies typically want to Alpha or Beta strike you and if that fails die. If that wasn’t bad enough, Tau are typically designed with mechanics that take away what your army does well and/or give the Tau annoying bonues. Creating games with zero interaction; basically you spend the entire time picking up models, while the Tau robot across from you is only calculating the next threat in your army to destroy. When you finally look into the hollow orbs of the Tau player, you wonder why you even brought your models out that day. When you do get a Tau player to form some nascent echo of an actual feeling, it is usually a curse or quizzical look at the dice that don’t fall into the predetermined parameters calculated the second he looked at your army list. Otherwise, interaction it is a minimal set of automated responses, to whatever rage you might have built up through the course of the terrible experience.
This discord between players feeds a dissonance that manifests itself in many online discussions concerning the Tau. The Tau are seen generally as unfun to play against. Tau players quickly repel this notion using solid stats showing the Tau are hardly ever a top tier army. This misses the point entirely because it doesn’t matter if they are good or bad they are just not engaging to face. The truth is the Tau are usually a gatekeeper army, a hard counter to most armies, that contributes a lot to the bad feels. Squarely you could lay blame on Games Workshop’s army design, but Games Workshop doesn’t control who is drawn to certain playstyles.
It all comes back to the toxic playstyle Tau players employ and self-righteously defend. So why don’t Tau players care? It is really simple; playing Tau isn’t about actually playing a game with someone else, it is about playing a game with oneself.
The opponent on the other side is completely inconsequential. Will the dice come out as I anticipate or will they not; it explains why many Tau players cannot grasp how an opponent can finish the game and beat them. The mission often times doesn’t matter either; can I just kill the most models at the fastest clip. It would be sadism if the Tau player actually got something from his opponent, instead it is a bizarre form of narcissism.
While it may seem at times your Tau opponent can’t generate any outward emotion, trust me online it is the opposite. The Tau online community is a rage fueled maelstrom of conspiracy, innuendo, self-aggrandizing; a group think nexus with remedial understanding of the greater social contract, in other words a kindergarten for sociopaths. If you want to take the time go through Facebook community pages and see the Tau swarm as it moves through the space. The Tau community even had petitions before anyone saw the new codex on to tell Games Workshop how they already screwed things up. Since we all should trust the Tau player to do what is right for the rest of us.
The ultimate amplification of this has been the Tau Commander nerf. The Commander nerf brought out all the “best” traits of the Tau player, highlighted by a now fully realized persecution complex. You would think Tau were a multiracial, gender fluid, wheelchair bound, over active thyroid voiceless group begging for inclusion. The fear of the new definitely doesn’t play well with this doomsday bunker subset.
On one hand Tau players complain Tau Commanders were all they had, but on the other they couldn’t live without them? I know it is terrible, actually reading your new codex, figuring out what works and doesn’t, and not just running the math to exploit one rule so you can dominate the mid-tables. Realized or not the Tau player were just upset their already bullshit trick wasn’t improved with all the goodies a new codex has to offer. Now they have to start over, like every other broken thing Games Workshop deems not fun to play against.
Tau players sadly, see enemies everywhere and the idea of changing their anti-social behavior isn’t an option. If self-awareness had ever been part of the equation maybe Tau players could change, but really only Games Workshop is capable of disincentivizing the current Tau paradigm.
The good thing for the rest of us is the new Tau codex does look pretty middling, but much of that opinion is fueled by what the Tau swarm floods us with. The truth won’t really appear for another month or so, when/if a non-Tau top player uses the codex and the real Tau players glob on it instantly taking credit for coming up with idea a few weeks later.
Engaging with a Tau player is fraught with danger these days, the siloed existence they have built around themselves is a real injustice to everything great about the Tau. Tau are a fantastic model model range with a backstory completely unique to the Warhammer 40k universe. Unfortunately, a large swath of Tau players only leave you with PDSD instead.
I think it is important to end this article with a PSA.
If you are a Tau player or just someone who picked up a few Crisis suits and decided your friendships were more important than the Greater Good, I suggest selling those extra crisis suits that you were using as Commanders and donate the money to help people with real mental struggles.
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